The Tragedy Visiting So Many Youth

My good friend from Brazil, Teresinha, wrote a comment on Facebook regarding one of my blog posts about the tragedy in Brazil of so many young men killing each other–she says like flies.

That same day, we have the bombings at the Boston marathon. What can a person be thinking as they assemble devices designed specifically to cause as much death and injury as possible?

Humans have asked why for a long, long time.

People come up with simplistic answers. “They just need Jesus.” Well, yes, that’s obvious. Except when you think of the thousands and thousands of people killed in the name of Jesus. Or, it’s because of single-parent families without a strong male influence. Well, yes. Except that there are many exceptions. Then there are the poor choices people make–like who their peer group will be. I just wrote about Lot, who made that poor choice.

It’s not easy. And it’s sad. It breaks my heart, too.

How do we reach these people early so that they can avoid the violent culture?

I am a member of a United Methodist congregation. The origins of that denomination are with the Anglicans, whose origins in turn are Roman Catholic. All of us practice infant baptism. This is not “believer’s baptism.” Different thing. We do that, too.

But infant baptism really is about the community. The parents and community of believers vow to raise that child to be a follower of Jesus.

Whatever happened to community? To be a safe place where people can come in their weakness and receive blessing and help? To a family with no male role model with the male role models within the believing community?

There will always be troubled and alienated people. But if we were more of a community, maybe we’d help more of them before they take that final, violent act.

I think about the mission work our congregation can do as I am preparing my mind and spirit to lead the effort. Is there just one thing we can do to help even just one young person caught in the dark side? There are millions of followers of Jesus in the world. If most of us reached out to just one or two (or more), think of the number of people we could reach.

But we have to do it in the spirit that Jesus taught. He said that people will know his followers because of their love. Not their judging attitude. Or their righteous attitude. But being the very personification of God’s love.

Meanwhile, the evil one is still at work in the world. We must be on guard.

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